Religion and Life Forum: 2017 Preachers and Lecturers

Rev. Todd Cioffi:  June 18-22Rev. Todd Cioffi

Todd Cioffi is assistant professor of congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College. He also co-directs the Calvin Prison Initiative, a new program that is sponsored by Calvin College and Calvin Seminary. The Calvin Prison Initiative offers a B.A. in Ministry Leadership to inmates within the Michigan prisons. This program will eventually have 100 inmates enrolled. Upon graduation, the majority of the students, still incarcerated, will serve in various leadership roles within Michigan’s prisons.

Over the years, Professor Cioffi has taught a wide variety of courses in theology, philosophy, ethics, church and society, and worship and church life. He has published book chapters, journal articles, academic book reviews, and several articles for a general church audience. He is currently working on a book with his Calvin colleague, Dr. Peter Snyder, on Christian business ethics. He is also ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has served as a pastor, chaplain, education director, and outreach coordinator for various churches and ministries. He is married to Erinn Epp and has two daughters, Sophia (9) and Mariel (6).

Sunday Worship – The Vision Of Faith
Lecture Series : A Christian Perspective on Prison Reform in America

Rev. Tim Bruster: June 25 – 29

Rev. Dr. Tim Bruster

The Rev. Dr. Tim Bruster currently serves as senior pastor of the 6,000-member First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Centenary College, went onto Southern Methodist University where he received a Master of Divinity and his Doctorate of Ministry in preaching and worship. Prior to his appointment to First UMC Fort Worth in 2003, Bruster served as senior pastor of First UMC Georgetown, TX and pastor of the Westchase Campus of First UMC in Houston where he was responsible for the overall evangelism ministries for both the Westchase and Downtown Campuses.

Beyond the local church, Bruster has served on the General Council on Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church and president of the Central Texas Annual Conference Council on Finance & Administration. He led the Central Texas Conference delegation to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, was elected to the 2012 delegation, and led the delegation again in 2016.

He and his wife, Susan, live in Fort Worth and have three daughters and three grandchildren. He is a licensed pilot and his primary hobby is aviation. He also enjoys family outings, reading, travel and music.

Sunday Worship – The Face of God
Lecture Series: The Faces of Grace

Rev. Linda and Rev. Tom McDermott (Lectures Only)

Rev. Linda McDermottThe Rev. Linda McDermott is married to the Rev. Tom McDermott and both serve at First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, TX. Linda is the Senior Associate Pastor and is passionate about creating relevant worship for a wide variety of needs, whether addressing those new to the faith or those who are seeking to deepen their faith experiences through a more challenging message. She also addresses persons with a special devotion to social justice and young families seeking an engaging experience of worship. She was one of five leaders who established the Day Resource Center for the Homeless in Ft Worth and has served on many community boards. Linda is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Masters in Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University.

Rev. Tom McDermottTom is the lead pastor for an "un-orthodox", nontraditional service at FUMC Fort Worth. A first generation Irish-American and professional storyteller, guitarist, ukulelist, and bodhran player, Tom has traveled extensively since 1993, taking his love of music, story, and percussion to audiences across the US, Canada, Ireland, and Mexico, performing for over 40,000 kids and adults annually in schools, churches, special needs camps, festivals, and professional organizations. His stories are full of irony and incredulity, mischief and mayhem, and often leave his listeners an unexpected doorway to wonder and wisdom. He is a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for storytelling excellence in the Southwest, Texas’ 2012 Ukulelist of the Year, and a Touring Artist with the Texas Commission on the Arts. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (BA/CSW, Psy/Soc Wk) and Brite Divinity School (TCU, MDiv), he and Linda have two adult sons, and two young granddaughters.

Lecture Series: The Faces of Grace

Rev. Charles Graff

Rev. Charles Graff: June 26 - 29

The Rev. Charles (Chuck) Graff serves as Associate Pastor at FUMC Fort Worth. He has also served in a number of Conference leadership positions, and currently trains Disaster Response teams. He enjoys leading international mission trips, and creating dialogue and understanding through interfaith symposiums through his education ministry. Outdoor Retreat Ministry is also a passion for the Reverend Graff, and he leads numerous retreats to state parks, the Canadian outback and other locations. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Kearney (Bachelor of Education) and Iliff School of Theology (Master of Divinity) on the University of Denver Campus. Chuck is married to Peggy Graff, Organist and Associate Director of Music & Worship Arts at First UMC, and they have two children and three grandchildren. Chuck enjoys reading, kayaking and hiking, travel and spending time with family.

Leader of Morning Devotions in the Woods

Rev. Meg Jenista Kuykendall: July 2,3, 5, 6

Rev. Meg Jenista Kuykendall Meg Jenista Kuykendall has been the pastor at Washington, DC CRC since November 2012. She has served other Christian Reformed congregations in Kalamazoo, MI and Calgary, AB. She has a BA in Communication Arts & Christian Education of Youth from Cedarville University and an M.Div from Calvin Theological Seminary. She teaches online preaching courses for Calvin Theological Seminary while continuing to pursue her Th.M. in preaching. She has a passion for communicating God’s Word, and caring for God’s people.

Pastor Meg is a newly married to John Kuykendall since April 2016. Life with a new husband, three cats between them, a subscription to Blue Apron, a long Netflix queue, and all of Washington DC to explore is busy but good.

Sunday Worship – Bless the Lord, O My Soul
Lecture Series – Learning From the Psalms (No Lecture on July 4)

Philip Yancey: July 9

Philip Yancey A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there for ten years as Editor and then Publisher.

Then Philip became a full-time writer, initially working as a journalist for such varied publications as Reader’s Digest, National Wildlife, Christian Century and The Reformed Journal. For many years he wrote a monthly column for Christianity Today magazine, which he still serves as Editor at Large.

He has written over twenty-five books, including Where Is God When It Hurts, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? and Disappointment with God. The books have won thirteen Gold Medallion Awards from the Christian Publishers Association and have sold more than fifteen million copies in English, as well as being translated into forty languages. Christian bookstore managers selected The Jesus I Never Knew as the 1996 Book of the Year, and What’s So Amazing About Grace? received the same award in 1998. Among his most recent books are The Question That Never Goes Away and Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?.

The Yanceys lived in downtown Chicago before moving to a very different environment in Colorado. They enjoy mountain climbing, skiing, wildlife, and all the other delights of the Rocky Mountains.

Sunday Worship - Dispensing Grace in a Divided Society

Dr. Kelly Carney PhD, ABPP, CMC: July 10 – 13

Dr. Kelly CarneyDr. Kelly Carney is the Executive Director of the Dementia Center for Excellence for Phoebe Ministries, a premier provider of services to older adults in northeastern Pennsylvania. Dr. Carney is a doctoral level licensed psychologist with Board Certification in Geropsychology and maintains national certification as a geriatric care manager.

In her role at Phoebe Ministries, Dr. Carney provides leadership for the development and provision of comprehensive services to individuals with dementia and their caregivers. She also serves as a consultant and trainer for other aging services provider organizations.

Dr. Carney is actively engaged in the development of innovation models of dementia care, research, publishing and professional presentations to share information about the innovative care practices emerging at Phoebe. Based on more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Carney is a frequently invited speaker on a variety of eldercare topics and has addressed a number of professional groups including Alzheimer’s Association International, American Psychological Association, the Gerontological Society of America, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, and the Pioneer Network. She is the first author on a recently released book titled “Transforming Long Term Care: Expanded Roles for Mental Health Professionals” and several other publications related to geriatric behavioral health. In acknowledgement of her expertise, Dr. Carney was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to serve on the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders planning committee and was selected to serve as co-chair for the American Psychological Association Committee on Aging.

Dr. Carney is an active advocate for individuals affected by dementia and their caregivers and participates in a number of volunteer and professional organizations directed at supporting older adults.

Lecture Series - Faith, Hope and Love: These Three Remain in the Context of Dementia

Rev. Anna Carter Florence: July 16-20

Rev. Anna Carter FlorenceThe Reverend Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and holds degrees from Yale College and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Ph.D.). Before joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Anna served as an associate pastor for youth and young adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.

Her books include Preaching as Testimony, Inscribing the Word, and Come Back When You’ve Found Something True: New Ways to Encounter Scripture, based on her 2012 Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School. Her current project is ‘A’ is for Alabaster: A Preacher’s Alphabet. She is a frequent teacher and lecturer in this country and abroad.

Anna and her husband, the Rev. David Carter Florence, have two grown sons. They also have two dogs, two cats, a flock of chickens, and way too much knitting yarn.
Sunday Worship - The Girls in the Reeds

Lecture Series - Based on her newest book, Come Back When You've Found Something True: New Ways to Encounter Scripture

Rev. Lloyd Steffen: July 23 - 27

Rev. Lloyd SteffenThe Rev. Lloyd Steffen is Professor of Religion Studies and University Chaplain at Lehigh University. At Lehigh he serves as Director of both the Center for Dialogue, Ethics and Spirituality and the Lehigh Prison Project. Steffen received his undergraduate degree in History from New College in Sarasota, Florida, then earned two masters degrees; an M.A. from Andover Newton Theological School and the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. He received his Ph.D. in the Religious Studies (Western Religious Thought) at Brown University, writing his dissertation on the topic of self-deception.

Lloyd is the author or editor of eleven books in ethics and moral philosophy, and he has addressed such topics as the death penalty, abortion, the ethics of war and end-of-life ethics. His book, Ethics and Experience: Moral Theory from Just War to Abortion, lays out a revised “natural law” approach to ethics that integrates different theoretical approaches to ethics, and his most recent book, The Ethics of Death: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives in Dialogue, was co-written with Dennis Cooley, a philosopher at North Dakota State University. Steffen contributes to professional and scholarly journals, but also reaches wider audiences with contributions to the Huffington Post and a column for the major Lehigh Valley newspaper, The Morning Call.

He served for nine years on the Board of The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and was that organization’s vice chair for two terms, secretary for two terms and for six years their NGO representative to the United Nations. He currently serves on the National Leadership Council of American United for Separation of Church and State. He chaired the Religious Studies Department at Lehigh for two terms, and has been active in a variety of professional organizations. Steffen is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

Sunday Worship & Lecture Topics - Questioning as an Act of Faith

Dr. Kevin Boyle: American Experience Speaker July 31 - August 4

Dr. Kevin BoyleKevin Boyle is an historian of the twentieth century United States, with a particular interest in modern American social movements. He received his B.A. from the University of Detroit and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

His publications include The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968; Muddy Boots and Ragged Aprons: Images of Working-Class Detroit, 1900-1930 (with Victoria Getis); Organized Labor and American Politics, 1894-1994; and Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age, which received the National Book Award for nonfiction, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, and the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Tolerance Book Award. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was selected for community-wide reading programs in the Detroit metropolitan area and the state of Michigan. He has published essays and reviews in The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc, The Rotarian, and Cobblestone magazines. He has held fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Andrew Carnegie Corporation.

Boyle is currently at work on two book projects: The Splendid Dead, a micro-history of political extremism and repression in the early twentieth century; and Change is Gonna Come, a narrative history of the 1960s.

Lecture Series - Change is Gonna Come

Father Michael A. Renninger: August 6 - 10

Father Michael A. RenningerFather Renninger is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, VA. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he studied piano, voice and guitar while in high school. He attended Ursinus College (PA), where he received degrees in Philosophy and Music History. He later attended The Catholic University of America, where he received graduate degrees in Theology and Liturgy. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Richmond in 1993, and has served as Vicar for Vocations and Rector of the Cathedral.

He currently serves as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Richmond. He travels extensively to preach in a variety of ecumenical settings, including the 2016 Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta. In addition to his parish duties, Fr. Renninger presents vocal recitals around the country, and has been a soloist with the Richmond Symphony. He has published articles on liturgy, prayer and spirituality, and is featured in a series of DVD’s focused on the teachings of Pope Francis. Fr. Mike enjoys jogging, Oreo cookies and Elvis.

Rev. Richard F. Ward: August 13 –17

Rev. Richard WardThe Rev. Richard F Ward is Professor of Homiletics and Worship at Phillips Theological Seminary, where he holds the Fred B. Craddock Chair. He earned his B.A. from Oklahoma Baptist University, his M.F.A. from Trinity University (in conjunction with the Dallas Theater Center), his M.A.R. from the Christian Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Richard brings to the study of preaching a rich background in performance studies and practices. He is particularly interested in the arts of storytelling and oral interpretation of scripture as they inform and enrich the ministry of preaching. Dr. Ward is the author of Speaking from the Heart: Preaching with Passion and a number of contributions and articles for the disciplines of homiletics, performance theory, and communication studies. A second book, Speaking of the Holy: The Communicative Art of Preaching, was published in May 2002. He is also the co-editor of Craddock Stories with Mike Graves and Fred Craddock. Most recently with David Trobisch, Richard authored Bringing the Word to Life: Exploring the New Testament through Performing It (Eerdman’s 2013). Dr. Ward served on the Editorial Boards for Feasting on the Word: A Lectionary Commentary Series for Westminster John Knox Press and for Feasting on the Gospels, also published by Westminster John Knox.

Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Dr. Ward previously served on the faculties of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado as Associate Professor of Preaching and Performance Studies, Yale Divinity School where he held the Clement Muehl Chair in Communication Arts as Associate Professor and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University as Assistant Professor of Speech Communication.

Sunday Worship - Jesus’ Last Lecture
Lecture Series - The Story

Rev. Thomas P. O'Dell: August 20-24

Rev. Thomas P. O'DellThe Rev. Thomas P. O’Dell is a retired Episcopal priest who lives in Bay Harbor, Michigan. Prior to retirement, he served the largest church in the diocese in Roanoke, Virginia, and in Omaha, Nebraska. He currently serves part-time as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlevoix, Michigan.

Tom has been active in mission work in West Africa, and in the Dominican Republic. Prior to seminary, he practiced law for eight years. He is a passionate supporter of the ministry of Habitat for Humanity. He has been active in Habitat since its early days, most recently having served as Board President in Omaha. He currently serves as Board President of Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity.

Tom and his wife Linda have five children and three grandchildren who live in New York City, Los Angeles, and points in between. He retired to Northern Michigan in order to pursue a life of kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.

Bishop David Alan Bard Sunday, August 27

Bishop David Alan BardBishop David Alan Bard is the presiding bishop of the Michigan Area Conference arriving in September 2016.. Bard previously had served at First United Methodist Church in Duluth, Minnesota since 2005. He has been in ministry for more than 30 years serving both the Minnesota Annual Conference and the General Church.

Bard received a BA from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1981; his Master of Divinity was earned at United Theological Seminary, Twin Cities 1984; and in 1994 he received a Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University with a focus on Christian ethics

He has been a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate and an episcopal nominee in both 2004 and 2008.

Within the Minnesota Conference, Bard was chair of the Episcopacy Committee and the Higher Education Ministry Team, and he served on the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Congregational Response Team. He has also served as the conference parliamentarian, a district superintendent and spent three years on the Commission on Religion and Race.

Within the General Church, Bard serves on the Study on Ministry Commission, the Committee on Faith and Order, and the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy. He has also previously served on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Commission on General Conference, and the Commission on Theological Education. Bard and his wife Julie have three adult children. In his free time, he enjoys music, reading, baseball, and walking.

Sunday Worship - Rock and Roles

Rev. Dr. Robert O. Brown: September 3

Rev. Dr. Robert O. BrownBob, Honorably Retired third-generation Presbyterian clergy, has served pastorates in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and as Interim Pastor in three Michigan churches. He was a hospital chaplain in the Detroit area and Director of Chaplaincy Services for Presbyterian Villages of Michigan.

Bob earned his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from The University of Pittsburgh. He is married to Norma; they have two daughters in Bloomfield Hills and Altadena, CA, respectfully, and five grandchildren ages six and under.

The Browns reside at Perry Farm Village in Harbor Springs. Both Bob and Norma enjoy volunteering on a regular basis at several community area agencies and boards. And they cheer for U of M, MSU, Notre Dame, Pitt and the Steelers!!!

Sunday Worship - On the Radical Road of Faith

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The Bay View Association is located just outside of Petoskey, Michigan on the shore of Little Traverse Bay.

1715 Encampment Ave
P.O. Box 583
Petoskey, MI 49770

Phone: 231-347-6225



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To be an institution in which Christian values and traditions are central; To enrich the human experience for individuals and families within Bay View and the surrounding community through a seasonal program of religious, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities; to provide a Christian perspective in a changing world.

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